The most visible culprit of a failing online presence is the website. Poor websites usually have a combination of stale design, poor messaging, confusing navigation, company focus (rather than customer focus) and poor loading speed and mobile responsiveness. You can fix these things, but where does that get you? Does your remodeled website stand out from the competition? Does it make me want to bookmark and come back again later?
Not necessarily. Some websites just have it—a special characteristic that grabs attention and lures the viewer into browsing more. That "it" changes from website to website, but one thing is for sure: I know it when I see it. Below, I share a few things that help make B2B websites great.
Sometimes less is more, especially on the Web. B2C consumer sites have gotten really good at this, but B2B vendors are learning. Below is Wallmob's home page. Notice how it really epitomizes the big picture style with minimalist navigation and a single obvious call to action: Get Started. Not much to discuss here—you know what they sell and how it's delivered. It's easy to find out more about their enterprise point of sale technology. What more do you need?
Great websites tell viewers why they should stick around in two seconds or less. What's in it for me? Give me the bottom line. Paychex does a really good job of that with its home page banner. Instead of messing with employee payroll and HR, I can do what I do best: make my company successful. And oh, by the way, half a million businesses just like mine are already using their service. If the viewer isn't sold, he's at least drilling down to find out more.
Yes, I know. We preach content marketing to drive better search visibility. But you still have to optimize your website in a way that will make sense to search engines and will make your site the most relevant search result for your products or services. Here's Orange Soda, a company that specializes in local internet (online) marketing. It says so in the meta tags, the default banner, the navigation, customer testimonials and calls to action. There is no dilution here. Instead, there's a strong marriage between website messaging and on-page SEO.
Not me the company—me the visitor/persona/buyer. What have you done for me lately? DropBox has this (and the KICS principle) down in spades. The website couldn't be any simpler, but it's all about me and my stuff, anywhere. That's what I need, and that's what the company does. No need for further explanation or news feeds, swapping banners, F-500 logos, etc. Just a Zen-like message and an opportunity to sign up. Obviously, this kind of design (and an excellent service) works. These guys are killing it.
Now let's take it to the next level. Content personalization is a combination of strategy and technology that enables you to customize the visitor experience based on who they are and what they've done most recently. I know it's cheesy to use your company website as an example, but here goes anyway. On the Kuno Creative website, the main banner is a smart CTA: a call to action to download a piece of content.
But it's not just any content; the offer you see is the next logical step in a progression based on what you've already downloaded. Chances are, your offer will be different from mine. This one is a mid-funnel offer in the middle of a lead nurturing campaign designed to give me more information about the value of inbound marketing. Earlier top-funnel pieces focused on definitions, best practices and examples of inbound marketing. Now we're nurturing our leads via content delivered during the website visit as well as using email marketing and other campaigns.
Why do I focus on so much on utility when I visit a website (or critique one for that matter)? Well, for one thing, there are many, many beautiful looking websites out there, and many are now entirely responsive across all devices. It's getting harder and harder to discriminate based on looks alone.
Among competing B2B players in your industry, having an old-school, company-centric website is a non-starter. Competitive forces will drive change soon enough. What I'm looking for is more than design. I'm looking for websites with the whole package: branding, messaging, marketing, SEO and customer centricity. You don't see a lot of those yet, but you will. It's inevitable.
Does your website meet these criteria? Leave us a link to check out in the comment section!
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.